Monday, November 24, 2008

Meal Planning Monday

Why Plan Your Meals ?

*Saves money at the grocery store
Planning your meals allows you to purchase only what you need. Gone are the days of wilted veggies and 3-year-old cans that were purchased because they looked good at the time. Meal planning also takes advantage of buying in bulk with less waste. If you know that several meals will be using onions, you can purchase an entire bag of onions rather than just a few at a time.

*Makes the 5 o’clock rush less hectic
I don’t know about you, but 5 o’clock at our house looks like a train station. Kids being shuffled back and forth to activities, homework spread on the table, kids are hungry and searching for a snack…do I really need to go on? Meal planning eliminates one big question: “WHAT’S FOR SUPPER?” Meals can be planned according to your schedule. For instance, if we have several commitments that afternoon; I will plan to have sandwich night or a crock-pot meal.

*Planned meals are healthier
Convenience foods and restaurant foods are loaded with fats and calories with very little nutritional value (per calorie). Taking the time to sit down and make use of fresher ingredients eliminates those extra calories and overly processed ingredients. I like organizing my week of meals to insure variety. One night we may have beef another fish. My family has often sunk into the rice pit. When I wasn’t efficiently organizing my meals, it seemed we were having rice with every meal. Proper planning helped me to decrease our consumption of rice and increase our consumption of fresh vegetables.

*Allows for more eating at home as a family
Studies show that families that eat together at least 3 nights a week have children that are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, I also believe that it helps EVERYONE in the family. I believe that eating together as a family helps reduce stress and build stronger family relationships. Family meals are not always pleasurable. There is the whiney toddle, spilled drinks, annoying table manners and much more. Keep your expectations reasonable and take small steps. This is a journey, not a sprint.

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